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Controversial Salary Deductions: Fresh Army Conscripts in Nakhon Ratchasima Face Unusual Fees

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Imagine being a new recruit in the army, fresh out of training and full of enthusiasm, only to find out you’re losing a significant chunk of your paycheck to unexpected expenses. Picture this: newly conscripted soldiers showing off their ATM cards and cash withdrawal slips as they try to make sense of their dwindling funds, all in the spirit of promoting army activities. But here’s the kicker—these fresh-faced soldiers might not even realize they’re being charged for everything from their uniforms to a cheeky septic tank pumping fee!

The drama unfurled in the Royal Thai Army’s backyard when the commander of a training unit in Nakhon Ratchasima found himself abruptly transferred. The reason? A probe into some rather questionable deductions from conscripts’ salaries. Among the eyebrow-raising charges were utilities and, hilariously enough, a fee to pump out the septic tank. How did this come to light, you ask? Thank the mighty power of social media! A Facebook page named E-Sor Khayee Khao 3, which charmingly translates to “E-Sor Crushing News,” blew the lid off this scandal by sharing the nitty-gritty details of a conscript’s financial deductions under the 2nd Army Support Command in Nakhon Ratchasima.

The exposed financial document revealed gains of 10,990 baht, but lo and behold, the poor soldier was set back by 6,280 baht in miscellaneous expenses. These expenses included camping gear, uniforms, meal kits for long-distance walks, and even an ATK test kit. But the cherry on top? A 500 baht fee for septic tank pumping. Yes, you read that right!

The Defence Ministry’s spokesman for political affairs, Jirayu Houngsub, confirmed that these eyebrow-raising salary deductions, including the infamous septic tank fee, were indeed the real deal. The unit in question, the 22nd Transportation and Service Battalion, had around 100 recruits, and naturally, curiosity (and outrage) led to an investigation. Lt Gen Adul Boonthamcharoen, the 2nd Army Region Commander, stated that while the army has over 200 new military training units, none should be—and presumably, none were—collecting fees for pumping out septic tanks.

Summoned for questioning, the relevant officers found themselves in hot water, and disciplinary action loomed over their heads like a dark cloud. In an initial response, Lt Gen Adul ordered the transfer of Col Achawin Akapin, the snap-happy commander of the 22nd Transportation and Service Battalion, to an inactive post within the 2nd Army area headquarters, pending further investigation.

Of course, accuracy in the digital age can be hit-or-miss. Some details in the documents were spot-on, while others were a tad skewed. Meanwhile, the Defence Minister, Sutin Klungsang, weighed in, stating that the ministry had already laid down the law against such deductions for non-official expenses. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin chimed in too, calling the situation “unacceptable” and a definite no-no in their playbook.

In an emphatic tone, Mr. Sutin stressed that one of the ministry’s cardinal policies is to ensure enlisted officers pocket around 10,000 baht a month—a figure in sync with the government’s scheme to bump up the minimum salary for recruits. “I insist those responsible for this issue will be held accountable and punished,” declared Mr. Sutin, leaving no room for ambiguity.

The military inspector-general has already been dispatched to conduct nationwide inspections of army units, and aside from this isolated incident, no other similar issues have popped up. However, Mr. Sutin did mention that there could be a few lingering misunderstandings here and there. Nevertheless, rest assured, strict measures are firmly in place to prevent any repeat performances of this monetary melodrama.


  1. grower134 June 13, 2024

    Unbelievable! Charging soldiers for septic tank pumping? That’s insane.

    • Michael T. June 13, 2024

      Right? It’s insane that they have to bear such costs when they barely earn enough!

      • Lucia P. June 13, 2024

        But are we sure this isn’t just a one-time mistake? Maybe someone misunderstood the policies.

    • Sarah J. June 13, 2024

      Absolutely ridiculous! How many other soldiers have suffered without speaking out?

      • grower134 June 13, 2024

        Probably more than we know. Social media just happened to catch this one.

  2. David R. June 13, 2024

    If this happened in any other sector, heads would roll. Why do they think it’s okay to treat soldiers this way?

    • Patricia L. June 13, 2024

      Because they can get away with it. Soldiers are often treated unfairly because they can’t easily fight back.

    • James678 June 13, 2024

      It’s about time the army reforms itself. This is medieval treatment, not 21st century military!

    • David R. June 13, 2024

      Exactly, it’s like they forgot these are human beings who deserve respect.

  3. Hannah B. June 13, 2024

    So the commander just gets transferred? What kind of punishment is that?

    • Cpt. Jack. June 13, 2024

      It’s a ‘wait till it blows over’ kind of punishment. Typical bureaucracy.

    • Tom S. June 13, 2024

      They need to do more than just a transfer. This is a systemic issue, not just one bad commander.

    • Hannah B. June 13, 2024

      Exactly! Reforms must be made from top to bottom; otherwise, this will happen again.

  4. Alice123 June 13, 2024

    I feel so bad for these recruits. They must feel betrayed by the very institution they serve.

  5. ChrisP. June 13, 2024

    The government needs to be held accountable, too. How could they let this happen?

    • Linda June 13, 2024

      Agreed, but the government can only do so much. The military has to self-regulate too.

  6. Jeff M. June 13, 2024

    It’s good that social media shed light on this issue, otherwise it would have gone unnoticed.

    • Nina W. June 13, 2024

      True, social media is a powerful tool for transparency these days.

    • Jim June 13, 2024

      But it’s also a double-edged sword. We have to make sure the info is accurate before reacting.

  7. illuminati09 June 13, 2024

    The whole system is corrupt. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

    • Sophie June 13, 2024

      Maybe, but we need evidence before jumping to such conclusions.

  8. Lucas June 13, 2024

    Such a sad reality for these conscripts. They join to serve and end up getting screwed over.

  9. Erika T. June 13, 2024

    So no other similar issues have popped up? Seems too good to be true.

    • Brad S. June 13, 2024

      It could mean they’re just more careful now. Doesn’t mean the problem doesn’t exist.

    • Erika T. June 13, 2024

      Exactly, sweeping things under the rug has always been the easy way out.

  10. David K. June 13, 2024

    I served in the military and never experienced anything like this. What has changed now?

  11. Nora M. June 13, 2024

    The Defence Ministry needs to ensure these policies are followed. Empty promises won’t solve anything.

    • Frank Y. June 13, 2024

      Talk is cheap. They need to take real, tangible actions.

  12. combat_veteran June 13, 2024

    Those responsible should be court-martialed. A transfer isn’t punishment.

  13. Mia June 13, 2024

    With everything out in the open, hopefully something positive comes out of this mess.

    • Lisa Q. June 13, 2024

      We need to keep the pressure on so they can’t ignore it.

  14. Evan June 13, 2024

    This kind of treatment is exactly why fewer young people want to join the military nowadays.

    • Mark June 13, 2024

      And they’re right to avoid it if this is what they face. There needs to be a massive overhaul.

  15. Sam June 13, 2024

    I hope those soldiers get reimbursed. They shouldn’t have to bear these extra costs.

    • Vivian June 13, 2024

      Agreed, financial compensation is the least they deserve.

    • Sam June 13, 2024

      And an apology from the higher-ups. They owe them that much.

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